International financial services business, Bluestone Group, has announced the appointment of Peter McGuinness to Group CEO with immediate effect.
Alistair Jeffery, founder and executive chairman of Bluestone, will continue to be engaged in the business on a part-time basis. His responsibilities will be split between Bluestone’s head office in the UK and its regional head office in Sydney.
Jeffery praised McGuinness as the ideal candidate for the role due to his high level accounting and structured finance skills as well as his operational experience in specialist lending.
After working for Japanese investment bank in the 1990s, McGuinness moved to Bluestone in 2003. He established the equity release business before taking up the role of CFO. In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, he stepped into the role of CEO - APAC.
McGuinness then joined Jeffery in the UK in 2012 and has helped lead the firm’s expansion in car and equipment finance in Ireland as well as mortgage lending in the UK.
“Under Alistair’s leadership, Bluestone has developed a clear vision for the next five years growth, and I am looking forward to drawing on my 13 years’ experience with Bluestone and taking on the challenge of executing that plan,” McGuinness said.
Bluestone has grown significantly and is now larger than its pre-GFC peak. It has a global workforce of more than 260 employees in four countries, net assets of $68 million and normalised earnings of over $13 million per year.
Since 2000, it has lent more than $6 billion to those who are self-employed, recent migrants, contractors, part-time workers as well as those who may have had prior credit problems.
“Between 2000 and 2008, we really had a very strong run as a specialist lender with total originations in excess of $5 billion. We were a very regular participant in the capital markets,” Jeffery told Australian Broker
After a brief hibernation period from 2009 to 2012, Bluestone Mortgages resumed lending and has been growing at a rate similar to those early stages, he said, with the lender doubling its loan originations year-on-year.
“They’re really strong growth rates and we’re finding conditions quite attractive for further expansion at the moment.”
Released from his operational responsibilities, Jeffery is now able to now focus more on the Australia and the surrounding region and is currently looking into a number of expansionary strategies.
“I’m expecting to spend significantly more time in the Australian region in the next year or two,” Jeffery said.
“I think we’ll remain core to financial services or a fintech-style strategy. Because the funding markets are opening really nicely at the moment, I think that’ll support an expansion potentially into other product types including commercial, construction lending, auto finance and reverse mortgages.”
These are areas that Bluestone has been involved in previously, Jeffery said, and are worth focusing on more over the next year or two.
Meanwhile, Campbell Smyth will hold onto his position of CEO for APAC, running regional operations while reporting to McGuinness.
“Campbell and I have worked together previously, and I am confident that he will continue to deliver the strong growth trajectory for Bluestone in Australasia,” McGuinness said.
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